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Politicians, Doctors Conflicted Over Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 04, 2009 at 19:50:22 PT
By Charity Bonner
Source: Courier News
Elgin, IL -- Michigan recently became the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana. Illinois may not be far behind. Senate Bill 1381 would allow seriously ill patients with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana without consequence of arrest, and would provide for the patient's primary caregiver to legally possess no more than seven dried cannabis plants and two ounces of dried usable cannabis.
A House version of the bill passed March 4. Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he expects the Senate vote to take place within the next three weeks. Sen. Chris Lauzen, R-Aurora, is against the legislation, but still conflicted about it."The older I get, the more people I know who are suffering from cancer," he said. "You just think, anything they can get to relieve the pain. If pain never touches you, it is easy to say this is right or wrong. On the other hand, wait until it happens to you, or wait 'til it happens to someone you love." Lauzen noted there is a pharmaceutical substitute that offers the same benefit  Marinol. He said he also opposes the bill because there is not a clear way to regulate the amount needed for pain relief. Marinol is a pill containing the active ingredient THC.According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the pill has been found to relieve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer. The USDA says the drug is a safer alternative since it does not contain the chemicals or carcinogens found in smoked marijuana. The USDA also reported that some states that have legalized medical marijuana, such as California, have seen an abuse of the system.States that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.Dr. Thomas Cao, a board-certified medical oncologist at Sherman Health in Elgin and a self-described "classic conservative," said he is in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in order to improve quality of life for patients. Cao said it is especially helpful for patients who have cachexia, a wasting syndrome that causes weakness and loss of muscle and fat tissue, which causes patients to lose their appetites, and those with eating disorders such as anorexia. "Pain is a difficult thing to assess, and for some patients, marijuana works best ... When they feel good, they eat more," he said.Although some find it helpful, Cao said most patients find that marijuana does not work for their conditions. Cao said the drug has negative political connotations that it is important for patient quality of life. "Morphine used to be banned, but now we have medical use and we recognize the medical benefits of the drug. There are more people using it now," he said.State Rep. Kay Hatcher, the new representative in the 50th District, said the bill in the Illinois House is very loosely written."This issue is complex, and it's so very easy to see both sides of the argument, but to me, the bottom line is the message we would send to our youngsters that it's no big deal to use marijuana," she said. "It is a big deal, and that's the reason for my no vote."Chilakamarri Yeshwant, a medical oncologist and hematologist at Sherman Health, is also against the legalization of medical marijuana, even for patients suffering from chronic pain.Yeshwant said the problem with providing access to medical marijuana is that there is not a standardized amount given, and that all the side effects of smoking cigarettes, such as lung and throat damage, also appear in patients smoking marijuana. "Marijuana is not a safe drug to just take," he said. "I think emotions should be set aside and people should take advice from physicians. They know that we have scientific data which shows that it is not a healthy drug."Visit: http://www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org for more information on the topic.Source: Courier News (Elgin, IL)Author: Charity BonnerPublished: April 4, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The Courier NewsContact: Courier.Viewpoint scn1.comURL: http://drugsense.org/url/NDErNhVYWebsite: http://drugsense.org/url/7CpWRhifRelated Articles:Ill. House Committee OKs Use of Med Marijuanahttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24542.shtmlMMJ Legalization Measure Passes Committeehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24540.shtml
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Comment #7 posted by Vincent on April 06, 2009 at 13:17:52 PT:
Stupid politicians
Good afternoon everybody, I just thought that I would "skewer" some stupid politicians because of their ridiculous "pronouncements" regarding Medical Marijuana. Today's knucklehead is state senator kay hatcher. You will notice that I used lower-case letters...on purpose. Now this fool is upset that MediMarijuana is sending a wrong message to our kids that "it's no big deal to smoke" herb. Why do these Conservatives always use that "wrong message to our children" bull? Did you ever notice that they (Conservatives) all come out with that garbage? Such a catch-all phrase. 
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Comment #6 posted by Cheebs1 on April 05, 2009 at 19:21:17 PT:
Message
"This issue is complex, and it's so very easy to see both sides of the argument, but to me, the bottom line is the message we would send to our youngsters that it's no big deal to use marijuana," she said. "It is a big deal, and that's the reason for my no vote."Time and time again prohibitionists refer to the message sent to children about laws. I cannot seem to come to terms with this statement. Adults make, interpret, amend, and repeal laws. Children do not. Apparently a child's opinion is needed before legislation can be passed.Firstly the message repeal sends to children is the same one that was sent to children about alcohol prohibition. The law was wrong and intelligent sane people can realize that a mistake has been made and FIX it. This is history and for us not to admit the facts seems foolish.Secondly the message we send to our children is that our government works and functions as the founders of our country intended. If congress enacts a policy that the populace deems contradictory, unreasonable, and harmful the populace has the right to amend and change that policy. This is the way our government is supposed to work.Thirdly it goes to show our children that perseverance is a quality to admired and aspired to. Without perseverance the truth would have been lost to political manipulation and posturing.I may be in the minority with my opinion but one of the greatest things about America is that I have the freedom to express my opinion. Show our children that America isn't broken. Repeal marijuana prohibition and send the message that the truth is more important than a political belief. Peace, Love, and Pot
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Comment #5 posted by Dagman11 on April 05, 2009 at 15:28:11 PT:
The police
The police are there to enforce laws, not make them. It is insulting that these police are putting their noses into a medical matter that they are functionally ignorant on. Hopefully the legislators will be able to see through all that untrue BS and make this decision based on science. 
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Comment #4 posted by George Servantes on April 05, 2009 at 07:14:32 PT
Marijuana is much safer then any prescription drug
""Marijuana is not a safe drug to just take," he said. "I think emotions should be set aside and people should take advice from physicians. They know that we have scientific data which shows that it is not a healthy drug."Actually it's safest drug on earth. You don't have to smoke to use it and you can't overdose on it so there is no legitimate concern about dosage. Educate yourself first. Ignorance is bliss for some. 
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on April 05, 2009 at 06:22:29 PT
The 14th.
On Tuesday, March 24, the New Hampshire legislature voted in favor of House Bill 648, which legalizes the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The bill is planned to take effect on Jan. 1, 2010. US NH: Edu: Marijuana Legalized In NH For Medical Usehttp://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n387/a03.html?397
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 05, 2009 at 05:02:36 PT
Aaron Houston Testifies Before Congress
April 3, 2009URL: http://tv.mpp.org/news/aaron-houston-testifies-before-congress/
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on April 04, 2009 at 22:59:26 PT
progress at last ...
can't remember how many times it seems that the last state to decrim Med Cannabis was deemed the 13th. I was gonna ask the question a couple of days ago when another state was deemed to be the thirteenth. Mayhap I misunderstood, but now am glad to see the 14th.Here's to many more as speedily as possible.Peace to all who care for the sick enough to let them choose their own medicine.
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